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Performance profiles of football teams in the UEFA Champions League considering situational efficiency

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Performance of football teams varies constantly due to the dynamic nature of this sport, whilst the typical performance and its spread can be represented by profiles combining different performance-related variables based on data from multiple matches. The current study aims to use a profiling technique to evaluate and compare match performance of football teams in the UEFA Champions League incorporating three situational variables (i.e. strength of team and opponent, match outcome and match location). Match statistics of 72 teams, 496 games across four seasons (2008-09 to 2012-13) of this competition were analysed. Sixteen performance-related events were included: shots, shots on target, shots from open play, shots from set piece, shots from counter attack, passes, pass accuracy (%), crosses, through balls, corners, dribbles, possession, aerial success (%), fouls, tackles, and yellow cards. Teams were classified into three levels of strength by a k-cluster analysis. Profiles of overall performance and profiles incorporating three situational variables for teams of all three levels of strength were set up by presenting the mean, standard deviation, median, lower and upper quartiles of the counts of each event to represent their typical performances and spreads. Means were compared by using one-way ANOVA and independent sample t test (for match location, home and away differences), and were plotted into the same radar charts after unifying all the event counts by standardised score. Established profiles can present straightforwardly typical performances of football teams of different levels playing in different situations, which could provide detailed references for coaches and analysts to evaluate performances of upcoming opposition and of their own.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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